After a knee injury hindered ‘Late Game’ LaMonte Wade Jr.’s entire 2022 campaign, the MLBbro is back and stronger than ever, trying to ingeminate his success from his breakout 2021 season. Wade won the starting first base job in San Francisco this season. Wade Jr. is just elated to be healthy and knows that if he takes care of his body, the results will come. 

His presence is already bearing fruit for San Francisco who wants to get out to a fast start in a hellacious division. LaMonte Wade Jr. and Thairo Estrada delivered RBI infield singles in the sixth inning on Saturday, lifting the Giants to a 7-5 victory over the ‘evil empire’ Yankees.

 

 

The MLBbro’s 2022 season was derailed by a bone bruise in his left knee. “Late Night LaMonte”, began noticing the injury at the end of the ’21 season, and the pain lingered through spring training as he felt a pop as he stopped on the basepaths in an exhibition against the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale. But lack of communication led to the 29-year-old opting to fight through the injury, playing in 77 games as no contact was allowed between teams and players during the 99-day impasse that delayed the start of the 2022 season.

 

“I came into spring training not really feeling too good last year with the knee,” Wade told MLB.com. “I wasn’t really too surprised that the knee blew out when it did. I thought it was going to be a little sooner than that. But it definitely derailed the season for me, physically and mentally.”

 

After the ’22 season, surgery became a possibility. The diagnosis was that Wade’s left leg being weaker than his right leg which was causing the pain. He gathered more opinions after returning home to Maryland. He was told that there was more than a bone bruise in his knee, but a procedure wouldn’t be a simple cleanout. 

 

“It was going to put me out awhile,” Wade said. “Once they told me that, I decided to do the rehab route and really worked hard at it. They said as long as I keep at it, I won’t have any problems.”

 

To avoid surgery and being off the diamond for an extended period, he dedicated the majority of his offseason to strengthening his left leg. There were three separate stages of his rehabilitation to ensure that he’d be back to 100%: strengthening his hamstrings and quads, then training for speed and fast-twitch movement, then a blended phase to make sure he would be ready for spring training.

 

A year later, Wade comes into spring training feeling healthy and ready to attack baseballs at the plate as he did in his successful ’21 campaign, where he posted a career-high .808 OPS with 18 home runs for the 107-win Giants. 

 

“I couldn’t really even bend my legs [last year],” Wade told MLB.com. “I like to sit in my legs when I hit. I sat in my legs all of 2021. … “It does feel good to come in here and be able to sit in my legs and go out here Day 1 and participate and do everything how I want to do it. I’m looking forward to that and keep growing.”

 

Wade finds a new permanent home on the diamond

 

After playing more than 70% of his career in the outfield, all signs are pointing to Wade manning first base for the Giants for the foreseeable future.

With longtime first baseman Brandon Belt now with the Blue Jays, Wade, who has played 58 games at first base over his career, is set to be the next anchor at the hot corner. 

 

“I think it shows that they believe in me to be able to take this next step,” Wade told MLB.com. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

 

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has posted a .980 fielding percentage at first base since joining the Giants in 2021, committing just seven errors over 342 total chances and turning 31 double plays in the span. 

 

With no other left-handed hitting first baseman on the Giants’ roster, San Francisco will be relying heavily on the MLBbro to hold his ground at first base for years to come. And not only will this position change with Wade’s longevity with the Giants, but allowing his legs to adjust without needing to roam the outfield after rehabbing over the offseason could pose helpful for his career.

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